Summer 2018 in Canada

Sunset Amherstburg Ontario

The flight from Grenada to Toronto had some good tail wind so we arrived early. With our early arrival and quick trip through customs and immigration we were able to get an earlier shuttle to London. Robert Q Airbus was very accommodating! Once in London, my Dad picked us up and we had a nice visit with him for a couple days. We got to catch up with our friend Cezanne over a great bottle of wine and a lovely rack of lamb. We picked up Motorme and headed down to Amherstburg and Willowood campground. Dirk and Colleen kindly brought our Jeep out to the campground. While I was visiting Courtney, I got a text from Randy to pick up mouse traps on the way home – oh oh! 

A few traps and some electronic sound thingys made short work of the mice. They were gone the next day – although we were vigilantly on the lookout for quit some time after. Randy check that they hadn’t made nests or any damage. Nothing – we think they only got in the last day when it was outside – thank goodness! 

Welcome to your 60s

We spent the rest of May and most of June at Willowood visiting friends and catching up with mail etc. We were able to see quite a few at my surprise 60th birthday party! I was so surprised and it was tons of fun. Thank you to all the co conspirators! 

Wayne came home for my birthday!

The end of June saw us on the road again. Up to Northern Ontario. Elliot Lake for Uranium Days – family and school friends, campfires and good times.

Eliott Lake Campground

Shae & Paul with us at the Street Dance

Street Dance

Blind River and our friends Mugger and Nancy on Lake Debourn.

Randy’s birthday at Lake Debourn

Randy and Mugger helped Dirk get his beautiful Bayfield from Gore Bay on Manitoulin Island to LaSalle .

Shae & Paul – Shea’s birthday

Randy’s brick at the memorial wall

The memorial wall

We traveled on to Thessalon to visit with the Beemers at Pinecrest Campground – one of the prettiest beaches on Lake Huron. My sister Cheryl and her husband Mark came in their boat for a few days to the marina in Thessalon . It was fun showing them around Randy’s home territory. 

Thessalon Marina

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St Maarten to Grenada

Oh so much catching up to do! 

We ordered new sails while we were in St Martin 2 to 4 weeks, they said. After lots of measuring, questions back and forth, an email to the North American ProFurl representative and almost 8 weeks later we got the sails and sailed off. 

That said, we had a ton of fun while we waited. 

New sails in St Maarten

I Lunched  with ladies; We checked out the restaurants and other businesses that reopened after recovering from Irma – Island Strong! We enjoyed many of the Heineken Regatta hoopla! Made new friends and ate great food. Susan and Bella came to visit. So, we got out and about a little more. We went zip lining – well, Susan and I did. Randy and Bella stayed at the bottom and kept an eye on things. We explored the old fort and the French side of the island. 

We had the boat cleaned and buffed up. New sails deserve a shiney boat, don’t ya think?

We had little parties to say goodbye to new friends and watched more sunsets. 

Finally, the sails arrived! They are beautiful! 

And off we go! Tick tock, tick tock -the clock has been ticking while we waited for these beauties. We have flights booked out of Grenada in 4 weeks. Plenty of time as long as the weather cooperates. 

We’re ready to go – but I can’t find my usual motion sickness pills. All I can find is a package of Stugeron.  When we first started sailing I asked my Dr for Stugeron and he gave me a prescription for betahistine. I assumed it was the Canadian version. It made the motion sickness so much worse!! oh oh! A friend gave me a sleeve of her Stugeron, because we’d check that the active ingredient was cynazine not betahistine. I was still nervous to try it. But, it was my only choice- that or nothing. 

I took one and off we sailed St Kitts. The weather was a breezy and the water a bit bumpy and I felt great!

Sun setting off St Kitts

So great that when we got to the lea of the island I went below to get out supper. I was fine! So fine, I volunteer to take the helm if Randy wanted to sleep so we could keep going( another 8 hours) to Guadalupe instead of stopping in Nevis. Randy slept. I comfortably ran the boat. Woot woot! 

Randy woke up well rested well before dawn so, we decided to keep going to Les Saints ( another 4 hours). We sailed 27 hour and no sea sickness! 

Les Saints

A quick stop in Les Saints to rest then some pretty sporty rides and quick over night stops to Dominica, St Anne’s Martinique. We stopped in Rodney Bay St Lucia and visited with our friends Paul and Deb for a couple days, then a quick hour ride to Marigot  Bay also in St Lucia.

Pool time – Marigot

Our absolute favourite Indian restaurant is here! We stayed and enjoyed the pool that is part of the resort. Caught up with our friends Sam and Neil on Barefoot Travels, made some new friends who thought perhaps that Randy was Sammy Hagar, and generally relaxed. 

Sunset in Marigot Bay

Enough relaxing! Time is still tickin’! We traveled from Marigot to Bequia. We love Bequia but only stayed the night then on to Grenada. 

Lobster in Bequia

In Grenada we spent a few days at Le Phar Bleu before we went to Clarks Court to have Moorahme pulled out of the water and put up on stands for hurricane season.

Lining up for Jerk Chicken

Pullin’ Out

We got a big warm welcome from Matt and the staff at North Yacht Shop. So good to see them all again. Once Moorahme was out of the water, we had three days of hot, hard work to do but we were  able to get a lovely air conditioned room right at the marina. The marina also has a nice restaurant. 

Chillin’ after a long hot day

Work done time to fly home. 

St Martin 2018

Feb 3, 2018 – Time has run out and there is no tooth crown.

Waiting to depart Jolly Beach

Off to St Martin at 1:15am Monday morning in what should have been almost perfect conditions. It was 13hours of lumpy bumpy. We anchored in a rolly Simpson Bay when we arrived Monday afternoon. The next morning, we took the 9:30 Bridge opening into the much calmer lagoon.

Sunset from Simpson Bay

some big beautiful ships docking

Randy dropped the dinghy to take us into clear customs and Immigration. Our boat registration was out of date!! I thought they were going to  kick us out – send us back out  into that shitty shitty Ocean – that’s it! I’m done! Book me a plane. Polar vortex here I come! Seasickness doesn’t just make me want to barf, it makes me a little crazy too! Poor Randy, poor customs officials – everyone assured me they weren’t kicking us out. Just get a copy of the updated registration before we leave. Relax; here’s a Kleenex; everything’s fine; don’t worry. Such nice people.

Cleared in and hoisting the St Maarten, Duch Antilles flag!

Island Water World in St Martin is like a candy store for sailors. They have some of the best prices in the Caribbean which is why we came here to replace the dinghy motor. After much research and debate, we settled on a Nissan 18 hp. And of course there are bits and parts and pieces that we must have, replace, replenishing.

The wind is usually much less in an enclosed place like a lagoon. For a week the wind howled through here like a banshee (not sure what that is, but I hear they howl loudly). I can’t imagine what it was like outside. The first few days of it,  we felt obliged to stay on the boat to make sure we (and our neighbours) were tightly hooked. Our spot in front of Palapa Marina gave us a good view of some big boats docking.

Sunset from Lagoonie’s dingy dock

Once we were comfortable with our anchor, we were able to find a few good restaurants and bars with wifi, some shopping and boat chores to keep us busy.

Friday looked like perfect wind to sail back to Antigua. Thursday we cleared out of the country, took the 5:00 Bridge opening out into the Bay and anchored for the night. We just got our anchor set and the bridle attached when I looked up to see a very big motor yacht (I mean like 200 feet big) anchoring just to our starboard. They only stayed for an hour or two – probably eating dinner – then upped anchor and left. We got a good up close view of her though- pretty boat.

Big bot anchored close

Even closer as they picked up anchor

Sunset from Simpson Bay before leaving for Antigua.

Once there was just light enough to see where our anchor was, we raised anchor, headed into the wind to raise the main sail – up, up, and…….WTF! The topping lift line broke and its wrapping itself around the back stay. Turn the boat around, re-anchor, send a shout out to see if we can get someone to climb the mast and untangle us.

Jakob from Pyrate Fish to the rescue!

Oh boaters are wonderful people! Jakob, a young man from Pyrate Fish, radioed to say he’d be happy to help. And another gallant fellow James (whose boat name has escaped me – started with an “E”- it might even be Escape) came to lend a hand.

When Jakob said he was like “Monkey Boy” he wasn’t just kidding. He climbed that mast (strapped in of course) faster than Randy could pull the halyard up! Jakob checked that everything was in its proper place up there and down he came. He closed the mast steps with his feet – Monkey Boy in deed!

Closing mast steps with his feet as he descends –

So, all squared away and off we go – a few hours later than planned but we expected to be anchoring in Jolly Beach Bay in the dark anyway. We know it well and it’s wide open – no big deal. The wind is not coming from where it was predicted. Maybe when we get past the island….nope. Well let’s see if it’s better to sail to Nevis first. Change course, better, not great but better. Calculate timing- Nevis in 7 hour. That would be dark in a strange harbour. Nope, not comfortable with that. Do we bash for 13 hour to Antigua? Or turn around and try another day? Turn around!

Broken bits

And pieces of the broken topping lift

We motor back to Simpson Bay where we are a little early for the 3:00 Bridge, so we anchor again. At 2:50 we lift anchor, go through the bridge and anchor again (You’d think I should be getting better at this but it still makes me nervous). We settle in and get ready to launch the dinghy. It’s already too late to clear in. Shelley and John Sanford-Davis stop by to say hello. We’ve only ever spoken to Shelley and John on the internet, but have many mutual friends. It’s so nice to finally meet them.

 

 

 

A Month in Antigua

Well, the plan was to leave and visit some more islands. But things move slowly (sometimes painfully so) here. Randy broke a tooth December 22. So, went to the dentist. He needed a crown, and so the process began.

I arrived December 28. We got organized, waited for the temporary crown, visited with friends, got measured for the permanent crown. While we waited we finally got off the mooring ball and anchored at Five Island Bay. One of our favourite spots.

Back at Five Islands Bay Jan 2018

The first day there I was able to try out my Christmas gift from Randy. Even as an adult sometime there is some assembly required! Randy kindly inflated my Stand Up Paddleboard and I was off!

First paddle on my Christmas present from Randy

Our friends were with us, so lots of fun get together and good food. Like us they are anxious to be on the move.

Fiona

The weather was great for sailing and a big blow was on its way later in the week. So off they went – we’ll catch up soon!

The Fraser’s leaving for Nevis

We had word that the crown was in ! So we came into the marina. So Randy could take a bus to town the next day. In the meantime we met friends at Jolly Beach for sundowners. Mmmm, Rhum Punch!

January 2018 The sunset at Jolly Beach never gets old

Our plan….get the crown, wait out the blow in the marina, rotate the anchor chain, and be on our way in a few days.

Not!

The crown attached to the mounting no problem but the tooth was too high, Randy couldn’t bite. The dentist filed it. The dentist filed a hole in it! More measuring and pulling, poking and prodding. All of which this dentist manages to make very painful – He might be the inspiration for Orin Scrivello DDS, in Little Shop of Horrors. And we waiting some more; probably just as well Randy’s mouth needs time to heal.

We took the opportunity to go to the Windward side of the island while the wind was building. They weren’t 18 ft yet, but the  waves were still pretty cool and any ships we saw were bouncing away.

Big waves at The Devils Bridge

Unfortunately, Randy’s allotted time in Antigua is coming to an end and more bad weather is on the way. Will the tooth get here in time? Will we get out in time?

 

 

 

Happy New Year!

 

Happy to be together in Antigua to ring in the new year.

 

For New Years Eve, we got together with friends –  Chef Randy did his magic on the BBQ.

The guys keeping an eye on the BBQs

The ladies having a cocktail

 

Randy has been busy fixing things. The oven is working again. He and our friend Sid replaced the element in the water heater – great not to have to run the engine or the generator to have hot water for dishes.

The dinghy had a very dirty bottom, so got a god scrubbing. It’s all in tip top shape to start our season traveling the Caribbean islands.

 

 

 

Art in the North

After quite a few weeks and Thanksgiving in the Windsor/Amherstburg area, we traveled back to Northern Ontario.  Motorme stayed in Jellystone park and we took TJ Toad to give him a good run. The ride was a bit bumpy but not too uncomfortable. The Fall colours along the way were great to see.

Autumn sunset on Lake Lauzon

In Elliot Lake, we visited with family.

Cigar box guitar for Dan

I was really excited to get to Blind River because Nancy and had I signed up for an Art Workshop for the weekend.  Sheila Currie teaches the class. She is a local artist who does beautiful watercolours and multi-media art pieces.  This very interesting round barn was right beside the place we took the workshop. I had to take a picture of it as the sun was just breaking through the morning mist.

Round Barn in Sowerby

Sheila demonstrating the next technique

By the end of the first day we had produced three partially finished pieces of art using a multitude of materials.

End of day 1- Three partially finished multi-media projects

After class the first day we were invited to wine and cheese at Sheila’s on Big Basswood Lake. Her studio and gallery are inspirational – so many beautiful paintings! It makes a girl wish she had walls!

Randy was looking forward to the butter tarts! He and Mugger got some work done and went to town to get buttertarts, visit some friends and have a pint at The Riverside Tavern.

Oh the Butter tarts!

By the end of the second day we had three finished paintings and lots of new techniques and ideas!

Everybody’s finished paintings

Mine

An uneventful, but long ride brought us home to the campground in Amherstburg.

 

Us; Safe in Canada – Moorahme; OK but Scary Weather

It has been a crazy year for weather.

Our hearts are breaking for the beautiful people in the Caribbean islands that we have come to love. They have suffered not one but two cat 5 hurricanes within weeks of each other. It sounds like our friends are safe and making the best of a bad situation. They say, the lessons they learned conserving water and energy on a boat has helped. But living without clean water and electricity is really tough.

We are relieved to report that Moorahme seems to have come through Irma and Maria OK. We haven’t seen her ourselves and will feel better when we do. But our friends in Antigua say she looks fine!

We were glued to the tv and computers as Irma came within 40 miles north of where Moorahme is up on dry land in English Harbour.  Then again two weeks later as Maria cut a swath of distraction 80 miles to the south. Randy did his homework and chose the place we felt would keep her safest. After all,  Admiral Nelson kept the British Fleet there for most of the 18th century.

Windsor had its share of bad weather too. Many areas were flooded, including Courtney’s street.

Flooding in Windsr

Off to the north east for our next trip.

Randy’s cousin Irene and her love Brian invited us to their wedding in Campbellford. There were a whole lot of Lawson’s in one place!

Randy & Cousin Irene at her wedding

With cousins Brenda & Al

& second cousin Ariel

My son lives in Canada’s capital city, Ottawa. The area has tons of museums as well as green space with hiking and biking trails!

Westley Clover Park is a lovely campground just 15 minutes from downtown Ottawa. It’s nicely treed and has great hiking trails nearby.

Maman- Ottawa Art

Passing by the parliament buildings

At Mckenzie Kings Estate in Gatineau

A walking stick bug

Pretty veggies at the Byward Market

The canal system also has a great walkway along its banks.

The Rideau Canal

On our way home from Ottawa, we stopped in Belleville at Birdy’s Restaurant. Our friend Tina owns and runs it. The menu had so many good things on it we both had trouble deciding. Tina sat to visit and had lunch with us. She made some recommendations that helped narrow it down but we definitely want to go back next year and try more. If you’re anywhere near Belleville Ontario, make it a destination. Belleville is very pretty and Birdy’s is delish!